Tag Archives: life

Johnson’s crony Con club: his government ignored 171 other candidates to employ his chum

Laughing at us: Boris Johnson appointed his former Bullingdon Club colleague to Parliament’s sleaze watchdog, over 171 other applicants. It seems clear he did it to ensure that he would never be found guilty of the many corruption accusations made against him.

We all screamed “foul” when it was revealed that Boris Johnson’s government had appointed his Bullingdon Club chum Ewen Fergusson to Parliament’s sleaze watchdog.

Was he put in the Committee on Standards in Public Life to rubber-stamp Johnson’s offences as being within reasonable standards of behaviour, we asked (or at least, This Writer did).

Now we have more evidence, and it suggests that he was.

Why else would Johnson’s government have appointed his friend over 171 other applicants who were not directly and personally linked to him – in the face of objections that the connection should disqualify Fergusson altogether?

As The Independent puts it,

The longtime friend of the prime minister was appointed to scrutinise him.

By the way: final say on who got the job went to Boris Johnson. He chose his friend for the position.

If you wanted an honest verdict on your own actions, would you appoint a personal friend to provide it? I wouldn’t. My friends would tell me if they thought I was going wrong, but they’d never voluntarily say so to strangers.

And this was pointed out by the Labour Party (even though it shouldn’t have to be):

Labour said friends of the prime minister should be disqualified from the role on the Committee on Standards In Public Life, given the nature of its job scrutinising members of the government, including Mr Johnson.

“Being Boris Johnson’s chum from the Bullingdon Club does not qualify you to sit on the watchdog that is supposed to crack down on sleaze and cronyism in our politics. In fact, it should disqualify you,” deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner told The Independent.

“This appointment is an utter joke, and out of 173 applicants of course the Bullingdon Boy fits the job description of marking the prime minister’s homework.

It is a joke. And next time Johnson gets accused of corruption, and his Bullingdon chum green-lights it, he’ll be the one laughing at all of us.

Source: Government passed over 171 candidates to pick Bullingdon Club ‘chum’ of Boris Johnson for sleaze watchdog role | The Independent

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Tory cronyism: Johnson appoints Bullingdon chum to ethics committee. Contradiction?

Two-fingered salute:: Boris Johnson’s answer to those of us who accuse him of cronyism.

We point out their corruption by taking them to court for giving cash to their cronies, and the Tories simply shrug and do it again.

Boris Johnson has appointed a former Bullingdon Club colleague, Ewen Fergusson, to sit on Whitehall’s “sleaze” watchdog – the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

Is this so his friend can rubber-stamp all Johnson’s own offences as being well within reasonable standards of behaviour?

Questions have already been raised about the appointment, which was approved by Johnson, as you can read in this Guardian article.

And the reaction outside the Tory bubble has been… as one might expect:

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Ex-politicians shouldn’t harm public life, says man who’s busy harming public life as a government minister

Robert ‘bent as a nine-bob note’ Jenrick: his own activities as a housing minister suggest that he is the last one to criticise politicians who turn out to have acted corruptly while in office.

Robert Jenrick – he’s a fine one to talk, isn’t he?

He’s been a minister for three years and is already mired in more allegations of corruption than most MPs, yet he has taken it upon himself to criticise David Cameron.

The claim is that Cameron rigged the system, while in office, in order to feather his nest once he had left frontline politics.

While it may well be valid – and it is certainly worth saying that UK politicians should set an example to the world by turning their back on that kind of corruption… well, I shudder to think what we’ll hear about Jenrick after he retires from Parliament.

The simple fact is, our politicians – particularly our elected government – are able to twist the system so it delivers fat profits to them, knowing that they will never be penalised or prosecuted for it because they are above the law.

Repeat until you understand everything that it means: they are above the law.

They will never be arrested because the police never prosecute politicians, particularly those who have been senior members of a government. Never.

So there is absolutely no incentive for them not to corrupt the system to the limits of their imaginations, is there?

Oh, you disagree?

Take a look at history, and the revelations it provides about UK politicians’ behaviour both in and out of office.

Source: Ex-politicians should be very careful – minister – BBC News

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Ex-head of OFSTED says teachers should be prepared to lose lives to Covid. Haven’t they?

Sacrifice: Sir Michael Wilshaw looks like he’s forced more than a few people to fall on their swords.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, former head of schools inspection organisation Ofsted who was once dubbed its “Dirty Harry”, has come out as the latest ex-government employee to have sawdust between his ears.

Watch this if you’ve got the stomach for it:

Of course, teachers have already lost their lives. This fool doesn’t understand his subject – and that’s a terrible indictment against a school inspector.

And yes – as a commenter on the tweet stated – healthcare workers deserve better than to have their deaths described as some kind of worthy sacrifice.

But worst of all, this school inspector has belittled the commitment of teachers up and down the UK.

Teachers have gone to enormous lengths during the Covid-19 crisis.

Most particularly, they have done all the could to ensure the safety, both of school staff and pupils – which is more than has been managed by either Sir Wilshaw or the government he used to serve.

Source: Ex Head of OFSTED: Teachers should be prepared to give their lives… – Dorset Eye

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Ex-Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption tells Stage 4 cancer sufferer her life is ‘less valuable’

Lord Sumption: when he opened his mouth, he opened a can of worms.

Are you losing any faith you have in our legal system,s people like Lord Jonathan Sumption in it? I am.*

On a BBC debate show, The Big Questions, discussing the cost of lockdown, he argued that he believed his children’s and grandchildren’s lives were worth more than his ‘because they’ve got a lot more of it ahead’.

It created considerable controversy when podcaster Deborah James, who has Stage 4 metastatic bowel cancer, said – well, see for yourself:

Sumption tried to justify himself:

He said: ‘I object extremely strongly to any suggestion that I was inferring that Miss James’s life was less valuable because she had cancer.

‘I thought she was responding to my earlier comments about older people being protected by a total lockdown which is causing immense harm to the young who are unaffected.

‘That harm can be to their mental health or through cooping undergraduates up at university or through the loss of jobs.

‘I was saying this should not be inflicted on the young to protect old people like me.

‘If Miss James has misinterpreted that then I can only apologise to her as it was not my intention to suggest she was less valuable. Sometimes on videolinks it can be difficult to hear what the other person is saying.’

But he did say she was less valuable.

Is this the kind of judgement he made in the Supreme Court?

Were cases decided on whether a person was “more valuable” than another – to society, perhaps? On what would that have been based? Money? Societal position?

And what does that mean for justice? That those of us who are poor, or don’t have a role that Lord Sumption considers “valuable” could not rely on a fair judgement in our court cases?

Don’t ask me for an answer because I honestly don’t know.

Members of the public have formed their own opinions (apologies for the fact that so many of them are attached to the same video):

Yes. And did he make similar decisions, on the basis of his own view of worth, while he was a judge?

If so, bang goes British justice.

Source: Lord Sumption tells Stage 4 cancer sufferer her life is ‘less valuable’ than others | Daily Mail Online

*And it’s a huge concern for me, because I am involved in court proceedings at the time of writing.

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The Tories are cheating us out of our pensions – and our retirements

Arguments used by the Conservative government to justify increasing the age at which we may draw our pensions are increasingly false, it seems.

Fellow social media journalist David Hencke has all the information on his website.

He says the Tory claim is that as life expectancies continue to rise, it will be impossible for the pension fund to pay out for everybody unless the pensionable age rises too.

There’s just one problem:

Ministers always quote figures up to 2011… [the] last year of any big rise in longevity which had risen for decades.

Since then the rise has flattened – in one year it actually fell – and last year was the first in five years that showed a small rise. Next year the ONS is warning will be the first year they will have figures of the effects of Covid-19 – and the hint is that longevity will fall because of the disproportionate deaths among pensioners.

Worse still:

When you compare the UK to many other developed countries both men and women have lost out big time in the longevity stakes. The countries that make up the UK (with the exception of Northern Ireland) are all near the bottom of the table.

So while we all are being expected to wait longer for our pension in the UK, our extra weeks of life expectancy fall well below many comparable developed countries. We are being cheated – or at least not given the full facts – by our political leaders. So don’t believe any facile claims we have a world beating system for pensioners. Far from it.

The increased longevity argument was used strongly by the Department for Work and Pensions in its court battle to avoid paying compensation to 3.8 million women whose pension age rose from 60 to 66 – but who were not given enough warning to make proper preparations for it.

But our people aren’t living as much longer as people in other countries. What are those nations doing about pensions? And how are they doing it?

It seems clear that Mr Hencke is right and we are being cheated.

I wonder what we can do about it, if DWP representatives are prepared to perjure themselves in court to preserve a lie.

Source: The chances of living longer are getting shorter – new Office of National Statistics figures show only small rise in longevity | Westminster Confidential

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MPs keep hearing disabled people must fight to live ordinary lives. When will they listen?

Anne Severwright.

This is an old, old story.

Successive Tory governments since 2010 have heard evidence of the hardship they have forced on people with disabilities – and done nothing but worsen it.

It has been said that one definition of insanity is repeating the same behaviour and expecting different results.

So I have to ask why anybody in Parliament possibly thought any good would come of this?

Other strategies are necessary now – and have been for years.

Let’s talk about them.

Disabled people are being forced to fight for their right to live ordinary lives because of the flawed and under-resourced social care system, MPs have been told by a disabled campaigner.

Anna Severwright told members of the Commons health and social care committee on Tuesday that she and other users of council-funded care and support were unable to live normal lives because of cuts to their support packages.

She said the system was characterised by fear, a lack of trust and unfairness.

She said: “People my age talk about it being a fight, fighting the system, and that constant sort of sense that we are having to fight for our rights and fight to have a life.”

Source: Disabled people forced to fight for right to live ordinary lives, MPs hear – Disability News Service

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Coronavirus: Boris Johnson puts the UK under – practical – house arrest

Johnson: The prime minister seemed close to incoherence during his broadcast.

Can anybody remember what Boris Johnson said about 2020? It was right after he was elected, last December, I think.

He was trying to tell us that this would be a bonanza year for everybody. Days of wine and honey – or some such.

Famous last words.

For today (March 23) he has told us that we all have to stay in our homes in a bid to contain the threat of the killer coronavirus pandemic. He said:

People must stay at home except for shopping for basic necessities, daily exercise, any medical need and travelling to and from essential work.

Shops selling non-essential goods will also be shut and gatherings in public of more than two people who do not live together prohibited.

Other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship must also close immediately.

Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed.

The government is also stopping all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies – but funerals will be allowed.

If people do not follow the rules police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

He says he’ll review these restrictions in three weeks’ time and will lift them as soon as he can.

Given the quality of his decisions up to this point, I think that’s a promise to lift them too soon. Johnson will want to get the herd back to work as soon as possible, to make money for him and his cronies – and that makes it more likely that he’ll put us straight back in danger.

So we may end up in a position where – despite being out of our minds with boredom – we end up having to ignore any such lifting, for our own safety.

That will depend on the advice from the real experts, and I think we’ll all have to pay careful attention to what they say, and to developments in other countries. I don’t think we’ll be safe again until the end of the year at the earliest.

Source: Coronavirus: Strict new curbs on life in UK announced by PM – BBC News

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Life sentence for Nazi who plotted to murder a Labour MP – and hard questions on anti-Semitism

This news is both good and puzzling.

It’s excellent that neo-Nazism in the UK has been dealt a blow with the imprisonment – for life – of a man who plotted to kill a Labour MP.

It is excellent for the UK – and hugely damaging for the vile movement to which Jack Renshaw belonged – that he was jailed for paedophilia also.

And it is terrific that, after years of high-profile accusations by pro-Israeli government organisations – against innocent people – we can now see what a real anti-Semite looks like.

He looks like this:

Jack Renshaw: This was taken at a National Action event in 2016. Why was it impossible to prove he was a member?

But it is puzzling that it was impossible to establish a link between Renshaw and banned Nazi organisation National Action, when the information that foiled his plot came from a man who met him through that organisation.

And isn’t it puzzling that, now someone who genuinely hates Jews has been found and jailed, nobody who claims to represent Jews against such hate has anything to say?

A neo-Nazi who planned to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper in a terrorist attack has been jailed for life.

Jack Renshaw, 23, from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, must serve at least 20 years in prison.

A judge at the Old Bailey said Renshaw, who earlier admitted preparing an act of terror, wanted to “replicate” the murder of Jo Cox.

Renshaw made a Nazi salute towards supporters as he was led to the cells from the dock.

He pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial to buying a machete to kill the West Lancashire MP and making threats to kill police officer Det Con Victoria Henderson.

A jury twice failed to reach a verdict on charges relating to his membership of banned neo-Nazi group National Action.

Renshaw was … jailed for 16 months in June 2018 for four counts of grooming adolescent boys.

Renshaw was also jailed for three years in 2018 for stirring up racial hatred in two anti-Semitic speeches in 2016.

Source: Jack Renshaw: MP death plot neo-Nazi jailed for life – BBC News

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URGENT: Advice to ESA claimants found ‘fit for work’ on getting GP ‘fit notes’


Remember when it was revealed that the Conservative government had told doctors they no longer need to provide “fit notes” to claimants of Employment and Support Allowance who have been told they are “fit for work” after taking one of the Tories’ rigged “work capability assessments”?

This should remind you.

The advice was false, of course. Claimants need “fit notes” when they are contesting the decision, and to make sure Job Centre “advisors” cannot make unreasonable demands of them.

Frank Zola has written an article detailing advice to ESA claimants whose doctors may be inclined to follow the government’s false advice. It is valuable advice – perhaps crucial in a country where the benefit system is weighted in order to bring about the death of sick and disabled claimants by benefit deprivation.

Here’s part of it:

Caution: You may wish to seek independent support from an Advice Agency or Law Centre before acting on any of the consent based suggestions below.

When Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit claimants are required to undertake a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and found fit for work (FFW), their GP or Doctor treating them is usually sent a letter, known as an ESA65B (pdf) [1], informing the GP/Dr that they no longer need to issue ‘fit-notes’ [2] for “ESA purposes”.

Unfortunately receipt of the ESA65B letter often results in GPs refusing to continue issuing ‘fit-notes’ [3], even when they should be issued when the claimant has requested a Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) of its FFW decision or appealing to an independent Tribunal against after an MR, or their health condition or disability gets significantly worse or they have a new medical condition. [4] Or when needed to ensure a Jobcentre Work ‘Coach’ cannot impose unreasonable work-related conditions on an ESA[4], Universal Credit (UC) [5] or Jobseekers Allowance (JSAc) (contribution based) [6] claimant.

If your GP/Dr did get an ESA65B letter and you are asking the DWP for a Mandatory Reconsideration or appealing to a Tribunal against the FFW decision, or your health condition or disability gets worse or you have a new medical condition or disability. You could provide a copy of or send your GP or GP practice links to ‘A short guide to the benefit system for general practitioners‘ and this letter of 5 April 2019 as they advise GPs when they should continue issuing ‘fit-notes’.

You can read the rest here. If you are among those affected by this issue, you most certainly should.

It may save your life.


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